35,000 vs Gayle for title of biggest party animals…

…aka, the World T20 Champions

The Sir Lankans have played their part in making sure the World T20s on their home soil was no wet blanket.

Despite some rains, a boring first round and allegations of ‘cheating’ over Mahela Jayawardene handing over captaincy, the Lankans kept the party going.

The infectious beat of music, cue the theme song (Vissai vissa rocks ICC World T20 Sri Lanka 2012), and has left the thousands of cricket lovers thronging the island finding a Caribbean rhythm far away from the West Indies.

Now the Lankans need to beware. The original Caribbean boys are in the final.

And they have found their rhythm (West Indies go Gangnam Style to hit T20 semis).

And when it comes to the T20 party, they have shown they are just as up for it.

West Indian star batsmen Chris Gayle burnished his party-boy image last Wednesday when police broke up a late-night gathering in his hotel room during the World Twenty20 cricket tournament in Sri Lanka (Police quell Gayle's hotel party antics).

Gayle and teammates Andre Russell, Fidel Edwards and Dwayne Smith attracted the attention of police bodyguards as they let their hair down at the luxury Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo.

Three British female guests who were partying in the players' rooms were removed by officers and briefly arrested, a police statement said after the early-morning antics.

"We're definitely going to rock against Sri Lanka," the swashbuckling Jamaican left-hander said. "We know what to expect -- the atmosphere, the noise and everything else.

"We are definitely going to win this trophy here. I just feel confident about it. We are up against world class players in the Sri Lanka team, but it's going to be good fun."

Now, clinical Sri Lanka will test their cricketing skills on Sunday.

Mahela Jayawardene's home team attempt to reverse fortunes after losing three finals in major meets since 2007.

Standing in the way will be the destructive West Indies batting led by opener Chris Gayle, who crushed Australia in Friday's semi-final with a scintillating 75 of 41 balls.

The West Indies recorded their biggest T20 victory when they beat the Aussies by 74 runs after posting the highest total in this edition of 205-4.

Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels made light of the slow pitch that was regarded as unsuited to aggressive batting, helping themselves to 55 runs in the final three overs.

Sri Lanka defeated the West Indies by nine wickets in a practice game before the tournament and again by the same margin in the Super Eights, but Gayle was confident of ruining the hosts' party on Sunday.

Jayawardene said his team's strategy on Sunday will be different from previous finals.

"They have all had to be approached in different ways," he said. "One final was in Barbados (2007), one in England (2009) and one was in Mumbai (2011).

"But now we are playing in the Premadasa, so we will approach it differently. We have to adapt. It is all about handling tough situations better."

The classy Sri Lankans have lost just one of their six games in the tournament so far: a seven-overs-a-side rain-affected game against South Africa in Hambantota in the preliminary league.

Jayawardene has himself led from the front with 210 runs, the fourth highest run-maker in the tournament behind Australian Shane Watson (249), Gayle (219) and Brendon McCullum of New Zealand (212).

Sri Lanka will be further boosted by the match-winning form of unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis, who shares the top spot among bowlers with Watson at 11 wickets apiece, and sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who has eight scalps.

The ICC, meanwhile, named the retiring Simon Taufel of Australia along with Pakistan's Aleem Dar as the two on-field umpires for the final. Jeff Crowe of New Zealand will be the match referee.

ALSO READ:

T20 Countdown: Spin to win Lanka walking into Windies' Gayle trap

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